Consumption. Canned and frozen vegetables: five beliefs to forget

Eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day? You know it’s too goodrecommendations of the Ministry of Health, which follow WHO recommendationsrenewed since 2001 National Nutrition and Health Plan. To achieve this, many French people choose canned or frozen vegetables, including green beans, spinach, cauliflower or peas and carrots. “VS“it’s almost weekly consumption for most French people,” Cyrille Auguste, president of Unilet, the French interprofessional association for canned and frozen vegetables, welcomed the figures last week CSA for support .

However, even though they are well established in our daily lives, these products are still subject to many preconceived ideas. Let’s review five stubborn beliefs.

Preservatives are used in canned foods FALSE. Canned food is not synonymous with preservatives. In the box of vegetables, manufacturers can only addsalt, water, flavors or possibly sugar. This is due to the conservation method used, i.e

apertization (sterilization using an intensive and short heat treatment in an airtight container) that food can be preserved for months, even years.

We can get by without eating vegetables FALSE.“O We cannot do without it and we cannot be healthy without regular eating,” warns Dr. Laurence Plumey, a nutritionist. ”

If you’re not eating enough vegetables, you’re not eating enough fiber. And in this case, your microbiota will be unhappy. » Crédoc data shows that the average amount is 200 grams of vegetables per day, divided between fresh, soups, canned and frozen. “It’s too little,” judges the specialist.

Freezing vegetables changes their vitamin content FALSE.

Freezing does not change the vitamin content at all, contrary to popular belief,” argues our partner. “After rapid thermal blanching (…), the process of freezing at -40°C and subsequent storage at -18°C best preserves the content of vitamins, which tolerate the cold very well. »

Fresh vegetables have better nutritional properties FALSE. Fresh vegetables bought or picked are usually not prepared immediately after harvesting. Vitamins then suffer significant losses through oxidation.

“In order to benefit from its benefits as much as possible, we need to preserve the nutritional properties of vegetables,” recalls Laurence Plumey. “However, with canned foods, as with frozen foods, this is the case, due to the method of preparation and preservation: the vegetables are harvested when they are ripe, prepared and packaged in the following hours, with short cooking times. »

Among these nutritional properties, we note the family of phytonutrients such as carotene, natural antioxidants produced by plants: “When we eat them, we will benefit from them and defend against oxidation. »

Canned or frozen vegetables come from abroad FALSE.

If we often find vegetables from Spain or Morocco in the fresh section, 93% of the vegetables canned and frozen in French businesses come from French production. They are usually processed within 100 kilometers of the fields where they were harvested. To help you find your way, the “fruits and vegetables from France” logo was created in 2017.

Declining domestic consumptionFrozen or canned vegetables allow all population categories to consume vegetables throughout the year. This is’

a market with potential, “but we have a downward trend”, notes Unilet’s Nicolas Facon.

In the home-consumed canned segment, we see a volume erosion of around -3% in 2023 compared to 2022, a phenomenon “that follows the entire trend in the food segment,” he notes. While green beans, number one in sales, are holding up despite a slight decline, canned peas and carrots are the only ones in the top 5 to see sales increase.

According to the interprofessional association, they remain very affordable, with an average price of €1.77 for an 850ml can for four people, well below the average price of a can of vegetables, which is estimated at €2.25 for the same capacity.

In the case of bags of frozen food stored in the freezer, the average price of which is three euros per kilo, there is again a decrease, by volume of the order of -2.4% over the same period. Spinach at the top of the sales podium is gaining ground (+3.2% volume in 2023 vs. 2022), as is cauliflower (3rd, +12.8%), while second-place green beans are down 6%.

Survey conducted for Unilet by the CSA Institute from April 29 to May 6, 2024 among a representative sample of the French population aged 18 and over (1004 interviews), quota method.

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